C1: How to Advocate for Anti-Racist Policies and Practices on University Campuses
This session provides an overview of university anti-racism policies and practices and discusses general advocacy strategies that align with anti-racism that can be used on a university campus to disrupt systemic institutional racism. Examples of policies and procedures that perpetuate racial equity issues on campus will be discussed. Specifically, multiple ways faculty, staff, and students can engage in advocacy efforts to create, support, or strengthen anti-racism policies in university communities will be examined. Based on personal experiences (as white women) in campus leadership and significant advocacy work, the presenters will discuss the power of university administration in setting anti-racism agendas and how to evaluate existing policies and practices for equity issues.
Megan Smith, PhD (Moderator)
Boise State University
Dr. Megan L. Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health & Population Science at Boise State University. Dr. Smith received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from West Virginia University in 2015. She has a teaching degree from California State University Chico (2008) and a BA in Psychology (with an emphasis on diverse populations and education) from University of California, Santa Cruz (2006). Dr. Smith’s work builds on education, human development, and public health science to study the contextual factors that promote or thwart health outcomes (particularly substance abuse, mental health, and sexual risk behavior) for young people. Previously a K-12 teacher, she often focuses on the school environment. While working for the WVU School of Public Health, she served as Director of Child & Adolescent Health initiatives for the Prevention Research Center. She is proud to be a member of the international Planet Youth team to promote the notion that true prevention is possible if you start at the community level and change the culture of health. She is committed to public health advocacy and deeply believes it is the mission of public health professionals to continue to advocate for and champion equity and health for all.
Alexis Blavos, PhD, MCHES®
Associate Professor, Health
Dr. Blavos is currently an Associate Professor in the Health Department at SUNY Cortland, and also serves as the National Director of Advocacy for Eta Sigma Gamma, the Deputy Coordinator and Webmaster for the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations, and the co-chair of the Society for Public Health’s advocacy committee. Dr. Blavos’ academic and work experiences include 10 years of service in the public health field as a practitioner and researcher. Among her many research interests are advocacy and health policy.
Heidi Hancher-Rauch, PhD, CHES®
Professor and Director, Public Health Program
University of Indianapolis
Heidi Hancher-Rauch, PhD, CHES® has been a university faculty member and researcher for approximately 16 years, the last 14 of those at the University of Indianapolis where she is a professor and director of the Public Health Program. She has practiced in the field for more than 20 years, including work in the areas of community disease prevention and worksite health. Her areas of expertise include health policy and advocacy, program evaluation, and evidence-based health promotion. Health advocacy has always been her main passion, with the majority of her publications and professional presentations on the topic. Heidi has provided professional service as the Board Trustee for Advocacy & Resolutions for SOPHE (2019-2021), serves on the SOPHE Advocacy Committee, is the SOPHE delegate to the Coalitions of National Health Education Organizations, is a member of the Top 10 Steering Committee, and previously served as the director of Indiana SOPHE Advocacy for two terms. Heidi started a chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma at the University of Indianapolis in 2019 and continues to serve as co-sponsor of the organization. She engages with community organizations such as the Indiana Minority Health Coalition as an outside evaluator and uses her advocacy skills to promote health equity and social justice every chance provided.
Amy Thompson, PhD, CHES®
SOPHE President Elect
Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Professor of Public Health, University of Toledo
Dr. Amy Thompson is the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Professor of Public Health at the University of Toledo. Dr. Thompson is the former national president of Eta Sigma Gamma and completed two terms as the National Advocacy Trustee for the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), where she was responsible for policy and resolution development and planning the annual SOPHE Advocacy Summit. She has published over 75 peer reviewed journal articles and secured nearly $1.4 million in in grant funding.